A Prayer for My Daughter

by William Butler Yeats

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According to W. B. Yeats's "A Prayer for My Daughter," which hatred is the worst?

Quick answer:

In “A Prayer for My Daughter,” W. B. Yeats declares that the worst kind of hatred is intellectual hatred because it is a type of pride that blocks people from learning and growing and leads them to cling to their own opinions at any cost, to attack the opinions of others, and to force their own ideas on others.

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According to W. B. Yeats in his poem “A Prayer for My Daughter,” “an intellectual hatred is the worst” kind of hatred that can fill a human being. This kind of hatred is really a type of pride that leads people to believe that they are better than everyone else and that they know more than everyone else. This is the kind of hatred that pressures one's own opinions on everyone else to the point of near violence. It is like an “angry wind” that both assails others and prevents a person from growing and learning. When one possess the pride of intellectual hatred, one lacks the humility to be corrected and to see from different points of view. It is, perhaps, far more of a hatred for oneself than for anyone else because it holds one back from becoming a better, wiser person.

The poet then goes on to pray that all hatred may be driven from his daughter so that she may possess a “radical innocence” and always make her own will match the will of God. Intellectual hatred or pride prevents this as well, for it leads one to cling to one's own will and reject God. The poet wants his daughter to be truly happy no matter what opposition she faces, and to achieve this she must never let any hatred enter into her while she clings to “Heaven's will” in all things.

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